Florida may be better known for its beaches and golf courses, but it’s also a runners’ paradise. Walt Disney World held the seventh largest marathon in the US in 2011, according to Running USA’s 2011 Annual Marathon Report. Further, the state was home to two of the world’s biggest half-marathons in the same year. For Floridians year-round warm weather and plenty of sunshine makes running a great exercise option.
Running can be the ultimate exercise. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, going for a run boasts a lot of health benefits, from better cardiovascular fitness to a more positive mental outlook. And whether you’re training for a half-marathon, marathon, triathlon, or just enjoying a light jogging routine, Florida is the perfect state to run in, with miles of beach, flat roads, or hiking trails to choose from!
What better way to find a good route than by using one crowdsourced by other runners? MapMyRun is a snazzy site that lets you enter your current location (city or zip) and the distance you’d like to run. Up pops routes mapped by other runners, including useful data like course elevation and comments on interesting sights along the way. Download their mobile app and bring all the site offers with you. For a simple site to chart your own course, bookmark gMap-Pedometer. These two resources are a good place to start your planning.
Another health benefit of running is friendships with like-minded people! Consider joining a running club to stay active and be social. From Daytona to Jacksonville to Tampa Bay, almost every city in Florida has its own running club. For a complete list of running clubs in your area, check out Running in the USA’s list of clubs in Florida. Many local running stores host their own groups as well.
And if you need another motivator, mark your calendar for an upcoming race or marathon in a city near you. Our own Florida Blue 5K on April 5th was a huge success! Check out photos on our Facebook page or the video on our blog and keep an eye out for future Florida Blue events! Also, check out our blog post on a running success story for inspiration to start your routine.
Before you start any exercise routine, including a new running regimen, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise. Stop by a Florida Blue Center for a FREE health assessment! We also offer onsite health programs including healthy lifestyle workshops and educational seminars for both members and nonmembers.
So get out there and start running! And share your favorite running tips or routes with us here.